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5 Essential Skills Every Entry-Level Employee Needs

Learn the skills and adopt the mindsets that will kickstart your career!

Looking to nab your first job? Or perhaps you've managed to get your foot through the door and now worry you won't shine in your new role? In this article, we'll go through 5 skills that are essential for every entry-level employee to both get a job and succeed once you're in it!

As an entry-level employee, you may feel concerned that your inexperience will hold you back. I can understand that feeling. Many years ago, when I first got an entry-level position as a management consultant, I was excited about the projects I would be working on. However, I was also nervous that the clients that I would advise were much more experienced in their respective fields than me. The best piece of advice I got from a senior consultant was to focus on what I can do, namely, work hard and develop my skills.

The good news is that many of the skills and traits that you need to progress in your role can be learnt.

We spoke to business owners and managers from different industries and here’s their best advice on the top skills and mindsets that entry-level employees should develop.

#1. Willingness to Learn

Managers do understand that as an entry-level recruit you might lack certain skills or knowledge when it comes to doing your role. Therefore, one of the key traits managers want to see is a strong desire to learn.

Xavier Parkhouse-Parker, COO of Cambridge Future Tech, says, “Willingness to learn is absolutely crucial since they have to get up to speed quickly. This can be learning from the team and self-driven learning, which differ significantly from an academic environment. Think 'if I don't know or understand something' then 'what or how can I change that?'”

This is echoed by Hadeel Hijazieh, VP of Digital Marketing and Strategy at Ontario Chrysler Group, who adds, “There is also nothing more an employer can ask for than someone who is humble enough and willing to admit they don’t know everything but strive every day to be the best at what they do.”

#2. Communication Skills

Employers are keen to find and develop entry-level employees who have excellent communication skills. 

According to Hijazieh, entry-level employees who are able to communicate well “can have a significant impact on several areas of an organisation including teambuilding and productivity as they are viewed as being approachable and collaborative individuals.”

As an entry-level employee, it’s worth investing in communication skills training to strengthen your communication skills.

As Carter Seuthe, VP of Content at Credit Summit puts it, “One of the skills that's most important to me is an entry-level employee's ability to communicate. They often don't teach this to college grads, or they don't teach it in a way that's actually useful. So anyone who already knows the importance of communication across all departments has a leg up over all other candidates.”

#3. Industry Knowledge and Commercial Awareness

If you’re able to demonstrate strong industry knowledge and an understanding of what makes a business successful in that industry, you’ll easily impress your employers.

Your grasp of industry developments will show employers that you are personally motivated to develop your career in your chosen field. James Rice, Head of SEO at Practice Aptitude Tests, notes that “Knowledge of the industry [is] critical, as candidates need to show genuine interest in what might be their long-term career.”

Industry knowledge, combined with commercial awareness, will also help you progress quickly to more senior positions. “Mission focus” is one of the top skills that Brian Gawor, Vice President of Research at RNL, looks for in entry-level professionals. Gawor elaborates, “When I am constantly hearing a new professional take things back to ‘why we are here,’ and relating what we are doing now to what we do for our clients, and where we want to go as an organisation - those people will move up quickly.”

Arm yourself with the sector-specific knowledge to stand out from your peers!

Browse training courses from these popular categories:

Business & Management | Health & Social CareHealth & Safety |

IT & Computer SkillsFinance

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#4. Digital Skills

The ongoing digital transformation of businesses across different industries makes it imperative that all entry-level employees (even those who are not computer programmers!) have a certain level of digital literacy. 

Most businesses would require you to have at least a basic level of computer literacy. This is because as Michael Humphreys, founder & CEO of Z Grills Australia, says, “Most if not all companies use computers. It’ll be such a waste [of time] if a company would need to teach a new employee how to copy-paste texts and how to perform other simple computer skills.”

Additionally, entry-level employees these days need to be internet savvy. Emily Wendzich of Gift and Giving believes that, “Being capable of creating a professional digital footprint is crucial. It's not just about updating a LinkedIn profile, it's also about being comfortable on social networks and having something professional to say there. You should be consistent on all channels. If one of your profiles isn't professional, recruiters have the right to be skeptical about what you'll do elsewhere. This is where I keep my professional coverage and this is where I'm more personal.”

As a bonus, once you’ve developed the skills to manage your social media profile, you will be able to offer those skills to help your employer manage your organisation’s digital presence.

Get the training to thrive in the digital age!

Find and compare training courses from the country’s top providers.

IT & Computer Skills | Digital Marketing | Social Media Marketing

#5. Personal Effectiveness

While it’s essential to develop your technical and professional skills to succeed in the workplace, it’s also important to remember that a personally confident and happy you will be a more inspired employee.

“Much like communication, self-management skills such as reliability, adaptability, and time management are the foundation to a well rounded employee that will be able to take on whatever asked of them,” says Hijazieh.

Just like technical skills, personal effectiveness and self management skills can be learnt. Personal development courses can help enhance your skills in areas such as:

  • Time management

  • Workload and priority management

  • Conflict management

  • Build personal profile and influence

Looking to level up your career? Gain new skills with professional training courses!

Browse courses!

Additional reading on the top skills to develop at different stages of your career:

About the author

Carol Pang is a Digital Content Editor for Prior to this, she has 12 years of experience in the corporate and financial sectors. 

She believes that people are fundamental to an organisation’s success, and that effective training can create a motivated and engaged workforce.

carol pang

Last updated: 15 Sep 2021

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